Research Data News

The federal government apparently is concentrating on research data of late. The blog below lists new announcements and consultations this month that you should be aware of, if you’re interested in research data.

Over the summer, the federal open data site was re-organised with a “revamped” new interface. This was done in conjunction with a new licensing agreement that is easier to understand and offers more openness than the previous version. So the government is opening their data for researchers’ use.

In the past two weeks, there have been other overtures from GC.CA that show that your research data is gaining more prominence.

As mentioned in DeDe’s Open Access blog, the beginning of October saw the release of a consultation document on open access publishing for Tri-Council funded research. While that consultation has a focus on papers and similar publications, it does reference the requirement for disposition of research data for CIHR funded research. (Open and free access to research data goes a long way to permitting easier replication of research results. It also provides access to experimental research that can be expensive to conduct and for which the result can be used by other researchers looking at different aspects of the same experiments.) The period of consultation lasts until December 13. If you are interested in Open Access, please consider submitting your comments.

The next item was the call for proposals for the new CFI fund announced on the Research Services’ Institutional Programs website. In this call, grant proposals “that anticipate the generation of significant data” need to provide a data management plan (DMP). Data management plans include consideration of a number of attributes that are intended to make the data more secure (e.g. how backups are managed), usable (e.g. defining what data is collected and stored) and effective at knowledge transfer (e.g. having the data curated).

The latest information came to my attention through a press release from the Tri-Council Agencies and CFI (calling themselves TC3+) announcing a consultation period on big data and digital scholarship. The period for discussion on this document closes December 9. As the result of this exercise is “a collective realignment of funding policies that will help promote excellence in data-management practices in agency-funded projects“, I suspect that a lot of researchers and scholars would be interested in ensuring that their views are heard for future grant funding.
The discussion document provided for this last initiative includes a very handy summary of the current “players” in the research data field in Canada and some of the recent history around research data management. It also has a wealth of references and definitions. If you’re starting with research data, I recommend getting and reading the document for an understanding of the current environment in Canada.


For a bit of fun, I want to close this blog with a cautionary video tale on why data management plans will help others with your data. Most of the issues in the video would be ameliorated with a proper plan.

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